Let’s dive into our review of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, one of the oldest resorts at Walt Disney World and the most traditional upscale hotel at Walt Disney World.
Built-in a classic all-white style, the hotel has a sweeping lobby space that is decked out to celebrate holidays throughout the year. The hotel is located on prime real estate at Walt Disney World, sitting just one monorail stop away from the Magic Kingdom on Seven Seas Lagoon. Guests can also take a boat or walk.
This hotel first opened at Walt Disney World in 1988 and has become the flagship property in the entire collection of Walt Disney World hotels. The entire property is going through a refresh with completely updated hotel rooms in a welcoming style. The hotel is the most expensive Walt Disney World hotel so we’ll judge it based on that and try to say whether the Grand Floridian is worth it at the end of the hotel review.
In this review, we’ll share photos of the new Mary Poppins-themed hotel rooms, a look at the pools, the various food on the property, how to get from the Grand Floridian to the theme parks, and more.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Review
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of three (the Polynesian Village Resort and Contemporary are the other two) hotels located on the Magic Kingdom Monorail loop. These are the original hotels at Walt Disney World that are located in close proximity to Magic Kingdom.
The hotel feels classic all the way through but is also well-maintained. Currently, there is a larger construction project that is ongoing to clean up parts of the hotel that impacted some aspects of the resort but were not an issue for any part of our recent stay. We had no construction noise impact our
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa includes both regular hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club Villas. In fact, in our resort rankings of WDW Disney Vacation Club properties, we called the Grand Floridian the best DVC resort at Walt Disney World.
Grand Floridian Hotel Map
You can view a map of the sprawling Grand Floridian resort here. There are five buildings in addition to the impressive lobby that greets guests upon arrival.
How to Book Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Standard rooms at Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel frequently go for between $816 to $1279 per night. This is the fanciest hotel on Walt Disney World property the and pricing matches it.
By staying at the Grand Floridian you get access to all of the perks afforded to a Deluxe hotel resort guest including Early theme park entry, extended evening hours on select nights, the ability to make your Walt Disney World Genie+ reservations starting at 7 am rather than when the parks open, and all of the complimentary resort transportation.
For booking your room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel, we recommend working with a Disney travel agent to provide you VIP services for planning your trip. We highly recommend Get Away Today! They will help with your dining reservations and booking any other special activities. Separately they will also price monitor your trip after you have booked and apply any discounts released by Disney for your dates and refund you the difference. They will be your complete resource for booking your stay at the Grand Floridian and ensuring you have a fantastic Walt Disney World vacation.
Another option for booking Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is to utilize Disney Vacation Club point rentals. You can use DVC points to rent an upscale room. In some cases it leads to the room being up to 65% off. There are two great companies to consider when looking into Disney Vacation Club point rental. David’s DVC Rental and DVC Rental Store are both great options you should consider. Be sure to price compare as they have varying inventory that may or may not match you dates.
For this particular review of the property we were hosted by Disney, but all opinions are our own. We will be back again to capture even more at this property because we had such a great experience.
Now, let’s dive into our Grand Floridian hotel review.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Review Updated Hotel Room Tour
Disney’s Grand Floridian is currently being renovated. They are in the process of updating the older style of rooms (last updated in 2015, though they seem much older than that) seen below into the more modern and comfortable Mary Poppins-themed rooms that we stayed in and detail here. As of late March 2023, there is no estimated completion date for the transformation of the hotel rooms into the new style. Eventually, all rooms at the Grand Floridian will be updated. The comparisons of the rooms are night and day as you can see below in the photo from Disney. The older rooms are dark and traditional where the new room styles are modern and light.
We had the opportunity to stay in one of the Mary Poppins-themed rooms in one of the outer buildings near Seven Seas Lagoon. This building (the Boca Chica building) is just beyond the courtyard pool area directly outside the main lobby.
Though our room was on the first floor and didn’t have a view of the lake, we had a nice view of the pool area and green grass.
Before diving into the specifics of the room, I’ll share that the feeling of walking into the room was of deep comfort and care. The room is bathed in natural light from big windows and the color palette across the board is light colors. Everything felt new and fresh.
The Mary Poppins Victorian-style theme is stretched throughout. Though Victorian in nature, the style is not staid or formal. They mix modern minimalist style with the fun of Mary Poppins to deliver a light, airy, room. This is my favorite Disney film so I was thrilled to be staying in this room.
There is a mural depicting the Banks family house on Cherry Tree Lane, a round pillow on the bed with silhouettes of penguins and an umbrella from Mary Poppins, a painting of a park in the bathroom, and a nice Victorian-looking family behind the coffee maker.
The chandelier had glass birds all the way around the edge. I took this as a reference to “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins.
The detail and look of the room are exquisite. I was thrilled with the quality of the room. It absolutely lived up to my expectations of a deluxe hotel at Walt Disney World.
When you first enter the room there is a vanity with a big mirror and table to get ready. One day I was working remotely from the Grand Floridian and used this as my desk. The bench is definitely big enough for two people to comfortably get ready in the morning sitting and using the mirror.
There were two queen beds and a couch that turns into a twin bed. The beds were comfortable and had down pillows. I was very pleased with the beds.
The bathroom has two sinks and a big mirror with a bright light around the edge. The shower and toilet were in a separate area connected by sliding door.
The room also has a Keurig coffee machine, hair dryer, and lots of USB charging points and outlets.
The room also has plenty of closet space. There is also a luggage rack inside the closet that we ended up taking out and putting in front of the door that could connect the room to another room next door if there were multiple rooms in our party.
There is also a small balcony with two chairs just outside a sliding glass door.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Review Lobby Photos
The lobby of the Grand Floridian is an iconic Walt Disney World space. During Christmas at Walt Disney World the lobby is decorated with a giant gingerbread house. During the weeks leading up to Easter at Walt Disney World, the lobby features hand-built, painted, Easter eggs themed to different Disney films and attractions.
Look at how fun this Kevin egg from the movie Up is.
The second floor of the lobby is also where you’ll find the monorail stop for Disney’s Grand Floridian and the fun Beauty and the Beast-themed Enchanted Rose bar.
Food at Disney’s Grand Floridian – Grand Floridian Review
There are a variety of food options at the Grand Floridian ranging from sit-down to quick service.
There are four restaurants currently open at the Grand Floridian – the Grand Floridian Cafe, Citricos, Victoria & Albert, Gasparilla Island Grill, and the Enchanted Rose lounge.
Narcoossee’s reopens on April 1, 2023 and was not available during our stay. This restaurant is in a prime location right next to the dock for the boat to the Magic Kingdom. The 1900 Park Fare Grand Floridian character dining is not currently open either and no reopening date is set.
Citricos is a nice sit-down restaurant themed to Mary Poppins Returns that offers food with a Mediterranean flair.
The Grand Floridian Cafe offers casual American dining throughout the day in an open comfortable setting in a location just off the Grand Floridian lobby.
Victoria and Albert’s is unquestionably the nicest restaurant at Walt Disney World and has won countless awards. This is a price fix menu that starts at $295 per person. Disney calls this the “culinary crown jewel of Walt Disney World”.
Because we were at the hotel for a trip very much focused on the theme parks, we ended up eating at Gasparilla Island Grill, the only restaurant at the Grand Floridian that offers Mobile Order, three different times during our trip.
We happened to order the blackened chicken sandwich the first day and ended up ordering it each additional time because it was very good. The chicken is grilled fresh upon ordering and comes with either chicken or fries. We also had broccoli and tomato flat bread which was good too.
The Enchanted Rose lounge has a limited food menu and great drinks. Located on the second floor of the lobby, this lounge has a fun Beauty and the Beast theme.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Pool Area – Review
There are three distinct Grand Floridian pool areas. The Courtyard Pool, Beach Pool Water Play Area, and Beach Pool. The Courtyard Pool is the more relaxed pool area with the poolside bar option. This was right by our building.
The Beach Pool and Beach Pool Water Play area are directly on the sand on the beach of Seven Seas Lagoon. The water play area is very cute and is themed to the Mad Tea Party with gold teacups dumping water over the playground.
Activities Offered at the Hotel
There are a variety of activities offered at the hotel including a nightly campfire, movie nights, scavenger hunts and more. See a sample schedule from the days that we were at the hotel below.
Getting to Magic Kingdom – Monorial or Boat
To get from the Grand Floridian Hotel to the Magic Kingdom there are a couple of options. The hotel is connected via Monorail and boat.
There is a specific monorail track setup to service the three hotels. This resort monorail travels in a clockwise position around Seven Seas Lagoon and makes stops in this order: the Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom Park, the Contemporary Resort, the Ticket and Transportation Center (this is where the monorail connects to Epcot), the Polynesian Resort, and then back to the Grand Floridian.
Guests only have to ride one stop to get from the Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom but have to ride four stops to get back from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian. The monorails come consistently every 10 minutes, though we actually experienced the monorails coming more often than that.
The boat follows a consistent loop of a stop at the Grand Floridian, then a stop at the Polynesian Hotel, and then the stop at the Magic Kingdom. We really enjoyed taking the boat to the parks each day because it was right out the door at the end of our hallway from our building. The boats came consistently, and we never waited more than 5 minutes to board. At the Magic Kingdom the boat launch is located just past the entrance to the Resort Monorail loop.
There is also a walking path between the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom. The walking path recently reopened from construction (late May 2023) and is available for guests to walk to the Magic Kingdom.
To take the monorail to Epcot, you have to take the resort monorail all the way around to the Ticket and Transportation Center and then transfer to the Epcot monorail. It is too bad that they don’t offer a direct bus to Epcot as I would have preferred that option. One day we were running late and exhausted and just opted to take an Uber or Lyft instead of the monorail to monorail connection.
When we went to Epcot in the afternoon we used the Disney Skyliner service to get from Hollywood Studios to Epcot before taking the monorail back to the hotel.
Getting to Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios
To get from Disney’s Grand Floridian to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, we either took a bus or called a Lyft. You can read our guide to buses at Disney World here and guide to Uber/Lyft at Disney World here.
There is a direct bus service to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, but there is no current bus service from the Grand Floridian to Epcot as you can take the monorail to the park.
How much does parking cost at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel?
There are two options for parking at Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel. Guests can either utilize complimentary self-parking or pay for valet parking for $33 per day.
Is Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel Worth It?
Gauging whether Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel is worth it for your family is a very personal choice. The hotel delivers on a promise of upscale grandeur along with comfortable accommodations, however this isn’t the same luxury hotel you would find beyond Disney. Other options on property like the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek or Swan Reserve may deliver for the accustomed high-end business travelers, but for a family who wants fancy and to be in a prime location at the hotel that is the epitome of Walt Disney World? The Grand Floridian delivers for this. I had high expectations for staying at one of the original Walt Disney World Resort Hotels and they were met and exceeded. Rooms that previously felt like bland living rooms now feel updated and fresh. Many other reviews of the Grand Floridian are concerned about the older drab rooms. The refresh of the rooms should give others a new outlook. If they can deliver rooms in all the buildings of the hotel to look like the ones we stayed in then the hotel will rise on everyone’s list.
Across the board the service at the hotel was fantastic and the location was top-notch. The only hotel that may beat it location-wise is the Contemporary Resort because it is only one monorail stop away from the Ticket and Transportation Center to transfer to Epcot. Price wise the rooms are more expensive than any other Deluxe resort and you may not always be able to see that additional cost come through in the experience. You are paying for the location and the branding of the resort as the Walt Disney World hotel. If you are all about the classic Disney experience and expect to want to be at Magic Kingdom multiple days of your trip, this is a great option. If you want amazing Disney theming and a hotel that still delivers on Deluxe Walt Disney World hotel perks like Extended Evening Hours, I highly recommend you also look at our review of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. That hotel has similarly great amenities but is farther off the main path and not connected to anything besides by bus. There will be tradeoffs for all options.
In short, it is difficult to say whether this hotel is “worth it” but can instead give you the comparisons of above. The Grand Floridian is the most expensive hotel in the Walt Disney World Deluxe Hotels bracket, making it the most expensive hotel at Walt Disney World, and it doesn’t necessarily deliver a better experience than every other Walt Disney World hotel. However, the experience we had was one I was impressed by and the renovated rooms went above and beyond to deliver that impression.
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